BRAZIL, Jaqueline Montoya Mariano, Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth from Brazil •
On June 4-7, during the Corpus Christi holiday, forty girls from the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth from Brazil (Jufem) went on mission in the city Tomazina, state of Paraná. For the first time Jufem carried out missions that were exclusively theirs. At other times, they did it along with other Schoenstatt Family Branches.
Jufem, which commemorates its 75th year of existence in Brazil, noted that among the many activities that they have, the missions exclusively with girls as a response for Schoenstatt’s new century that begins this year was lacking; moreover, it was a gift to the Church in gratitude for the Jubilee year.
“Like every mission, the main objective is to take Jesus and Mary to the people, to rekindle the Faith in the city and to show the youthful face of the Church. This mission was organized by the regional Paraná: activities were planned for children, youths and adults, in addition to home visits,” explained Tatiana Adam, leader of the mission.
The city, Tomazina, was chosen since they already had a Jufem leader with Gabriela Wolff that made organization easier. Besides her, the girls also received the full support of the pastor, Father Luciano Enes: “To have the missions in Tomazina was a cause for great joy. Knowing that there are young girls willing to evangelize encourages our church,” he commented.
Two by two or by threes, the girls carried the Pilgrim MTA, and they experienced the joy of taking the Word of God to others
The girls made very good use of the little time they had. The first day, they participated in the Corpus Christi procession with the parish, and then they departed for a rural area, where they went on mission in five communities.
Esther Rockenbach from Londrina participated in the missions for the first time, and she gave her impressions: “It was a wonderful and very intense experience; we were in prayer almost the entire time, since when we were not praying in the homes that, we visited, we were at Holy Mass or sharing together at our lodging. It was very impressive to visit Tomazina homes and to learn a little about the lives of its residents, because in each house it was possible to witness the faith that they had. They were eager to know the MTA, and they were happy to welcome the missionaries in their homes.”
Even those who already had experience in the missions took good advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, as Bruna Vilas Boas, from Botucatu (Sao Paulo) said, who had already participated in a mission for the sixth time. “They were unique moments with experiences for a life time. The Most Holy Virgin showed the strength of Jufem once again; the strength that we have as women, women who are the present and also the future of the Church.”
The second day they visited the center of the city and its surrounding areas, inviting the community to participate in the activities especially prepared for children, youths, and adults. The main theme was the sacraments. After every activity, the girls participated with the community in the prayer of the rosary and in Holy Mass.
The role of the woman in society today
On Saturday, in addition to home visits, there was a special activity that stressed the feminine in these missions: they carried out “The afternoon of the woman.” Ana Claudia Rabelo, from Ibiporã (Paraná), commented on the importance of this moment: “The most outstanding thing of these missions was the accent on the role of women in society today that was developed in “The afternoon of the woman.” This is a ‘cliché’ subject, but it is now treated in a real manner, giving examples of real women who have overcome the prejudices and injustices thanks to their faith in God, and their devotion to the Most Holy Virgin,” she summarized.
On Sunday, the girls participated in the last Holy Mass with the parish, followed by a great lunch prepared by volunteers. “Our community enthusiastically prepared for these missions, since we were eager to know what Jufem was. I admire the responsibility, the discipline, and the spirit of companionship. It seemed like you had known one another for years, but no: for some it was the first time they had met,” Father Luciano commented.
People who were unmotivated, participated again
For the community as well as for the missionaries, the past two days left noticeable marks in Tomazina. Gabriela Wolff, who lives in Tomazina and who was one of the organizers of the missions, tells about this experience: “To look beside me and to see every t-shirt, every jacket, every Schoenstatt gesture made me feel better: I am at home! I was positively surprised at the people’s welcome; the reception was wonderful. Everywhere I hear only compliments about the girls: ‘they were simple, kind, and affectionate.’ I am beaming with pride.”
Father Luciano recalls the fruits received from these days: “Above all, I believe that the visit of the young girls was positive for the parish, since in this city, the majority of the youths emigrate to work in the large centers. Other fruits were the witness of the girls and their evangelization. There were people who were unmotivated and yet they participated once again.”
Those who participated were nostalgic, but with a sense of having fulfilled their commitment. “I took the love the Blessed Mother with a great simplicity. The people taught me to value to the upmost what we have, materially as well as personally. Tomazina marked my heart unforgettably, they were moments of great gratitude and of love,” Bruna affirmed.
The missionary spirit is not extinguished as Esther recalls: “Schoenstatt does not mission, Schoenstatt is mission, and I saw it concretely in the days I was in Tomazina, because I went to mission, but I returned “missioned.” Thus it is with this idea that we should all return to our daily life after the missions, taking Schoenstatt to all the people who we encounter, at school, at work, or at home, in a nutshell, being a little Mary in daily life.”